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Reflections on War Eagle Mill

Reflections on War Eagle Mill

October 20, 2023


This fall marks the eighth anniversary of a defining moment in the founding of Thaden School.

During my first explorations of Northwest Arkansas in 2015, I acquired a taste for grits from War Eagle Mill, one of the oldest gristmills still in operation west of the Mississippi. Built in 1832, it has survived the ravages of fire, water, and war. On a flag-snapping fall afternoon, I drove out to see the source of the sustenance I had enjoyed for breakfast that morning. The mill draws its strength from a well-fed creek that I crossed on a narrow, wooden bridge. After stopping to watch a young angler take a perch in the tailwaters of the paddle wheel, I walked inside and discovered a world of pulleys and gears pounding out corn meal, soft sacks of harvest bounty stacked all around me. The humming of the millworks reminded me of the projector room in a celluloid movie house. Reaching for my phone to capture the moment, I thought to myself, “meals, wheels, and reels.”

It has been a joy to watch our signature programs become hubs of innovation and collaboration where Thaden students can engage in interdisciplinary thinking and community building. The upcoming Harvest Festival on October 27 is just one example of what is possible when our teachers, students, families, and community partners come together to make and bake, to ride and wrench, to dream and screen.

Together we create memories.

Clayton K. Marsh
Founding Head of School